Authorities this week identified a 20-year-old man as a suspect in the severe beating of a 15-year-old boy who was attacked while walking home from a high school baseball game in late March near San Pedro.
Jaymel Williams of San Pedro was already in custody in a neighboring county in an unrelated matter, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Evan Jimenez, a pitcher on the junior varsity baseball team at San Pedro High School, was critically injured in the beating, which occurred just after 11 p.m. March 30 in an alley in the 900 block of West Second Street.
The attack happened near the boy’s home and just a few hours after his team defeated Gardena High.
He was walking home from a friend’s house in an unincorporated area when he was confronted by two men. One asked where he was from — a typical gang challenge. The teen responded that he wasn’t involved with any gangs.
Investigators do not think the boy was targeted for personal reasons but may have found himself caught up in a gang initiation ritual, according to Sgt. Ricky Osburn of the sheriff’s Lomita Station.
“Wrong place. Wrong time,” Osburn told the Los Angeles Times. “He has no criminal history. We’ve had no contact with him. Just seems like a good, normal teenage kid.”
The teenager suffered brain swelling and fractures to his jaw and face. He was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and is said to be facing a long recovery.
Osburn said the attackers may have been trying to earn membership in a local street gang whose graffiti marked the alleyway where the teen was beaten.
“Detectives conducted multiple interviews of bystanders present during the incident,” according to Capt. Dan Beringer of the Lomita Station.
Williams was interviewed Monday by detectives who plan to present the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for filing consideration, Beringer said.
“The second man is considered a person of interest at this time and has not been charged,” the captain said, adding that “information provided by community members proved invaluable to locating persons of interest, witnesses and clues, and ultimately solving the crime.”
Osburn said nearly 75 people called the Lomita station to offer information about the assault.
Anyone with additional information about the attack was urged to call sheriff’s Detective Jimmy Duckworth at (310) 891-3216. Anonymous tips can be submitted through Crime Stoppers by calling (800) 222-TIPS.